Longridge Town Football Club
What a fantastic season 2016/17 was for Longridge Town FC. Becoming West Lancashire League Premier Division winners on the 13th May with a 1-0 win in the final game of the season and being presented with the Shield for the first time in the clubs history in front of around 200 traveling fans.
At the Leagues presentation night at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool I was awarded League Secretary of the year as well. A proud moment!
The club has come a long way since its 1996 birth and much has happened over the last twelve months. Lee Ashcroft signed a new four year contract. Preston City Council passed planning permission for our clubhouse extension. We are about to close a land sale to fund projects to ensure the club has a strong base so we may keep building a sound infrastructure for the future. We have re-introduced our Reserve team.
We have lost ten of our 2016/17 1st team squad members to bigger clubs, RAF and other work commitments so had to rebuild the squad pre-season. It is sometimes a frustrating role for a Secretary as nothing happens overnight as you will all be aware.
How did I get involved with the Club?
Some of my first visits to the club were to watch my son Lee Walker and his friend Gary Knight (under 18s squad) playing in the first team. My son shortly after at the age of 18 became Reserve team Player Manager. He resigned after a couple of seasons to take up a Captains role at the local Cricket club. The Reserve team was then resigned from the League.
Following a heart attack I was in coronary care with Mike King who had played with Sir Tom Finney at Preston North End. Mike was a former President of Longridge and we had some long football discussions about Deepdale as I have been a season ticket holder for many years and my son had been a Junior coach at the club.
Mike persuaded me, along with Chairman Brian Parkinson, to take up the Secretarial role. I can’t get away from it! I am sure many Secretaries will agree, it is like a drug. You cannot “kick” the habit so to speak. If football is in the blood you will never give it up!
I support both our management teams with off the pitch activities to enable them to worry about team matters. We try to be as highly professional as we can with the resources we have. We believe we have a tremendous working relationship and are all wanting to achieve the same goals; success at both levels and entry into the North West Counties level in the next two seasons.
The first team has made a solid start to the new season with many new faces in the squad. The Reserve team is completely new and has made an average start but the football has been good.
I thoroughly enjoy the role. It can be exciting and frustrating all at the same time but immensely rewarding when you achieve your objective. I am also fixture secretary amongst other tasks and have just brought £5000 of sponsorship into the club for this season. It is an extremely rewarding role if you are prepared to put time and effort in and follow projects and tasks through to the end.
As a club, we want to be promoted to the North West Counties League within the next two seasons. Longridge is a growing town and could support a higher level of football. The challenge is to prepare the ground and facilities to ensure we are at Step 6 standard. We are not far off now but it is that final push that is always the hardest.
Will I be League Secretary of the year again? Who knows but I aim to be Secretary of the year for Longridge Town FC.
Article provided by Club Secretary Dave Walker